Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: Thrunite Ti5 NW 1xAAA LED Flashlight

Lately I've been on a small flashlight buying binge. Over the holidays I took advantage of a number of good sales, and I'm still trying to catch up to all the reviews from that stuff.

My quest for the perfect EDC (every day carry) flashlight has seen some near misses like the Thrunite Ti4 and Lumintop Tool, both of which were close to being my perfect EDC. The Ti4 is awesome but just a bit too big most of the time, and the Tool is also awesome, but it has low frequency PWM which gives me a headache when I use it on low. So, the search continues.

This Thrunite Ti5 NW was purchased through Amazon. It was out of stock for a long time on Amazon, but I'm glad I waited for it to come back in stock. It's not hard to find direct-from-China or eBay as well.

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product Link
Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product Link

Product Description


This is a multi-mode, 1xAAA LED Flashight which uses the latest Cree XP-G2 LED emitter. It has a forward switch, and a solid, rugged pocket carry clip. Mine is the neutral white (NW) edition, which has more of a warm than neutral tint.

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - EDC Friends

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - EDC Friends 2
Shown with a Victorinox Executive, Leatherman Squirt, MTech MT20-30 tiny fixed blade and Smith&Wesson self defense pen


Official Specs (From Thrunite)


  • LED: CREE XP-G2 R5 LED with a lifespan of 20+ years of run time.
  • Output & Runtime (Tested with 1*NiMH/900mAh)

    -Firefly (0.03 lumens /120 hours)
    -Low (10 lumens /6.5 hours)
    -High (100 lumens /30 minutes)-Strobe (100 lumens /1 hour).
  • Neutral White output will be 15% less than Cool White. 
  • Working voltage: DC 0.9V-3 V. 
  • Battery: 1 x AAA battery (not included).
  • Peak Beam Intensity: 460 cd.
  • Beam Distance: 43 meters.
  • Waterproof: IPX-8 (2M).
  • Impact Resistance: 1.5M.
  • Material: Aircraft grade aluminum alloy body structure with premium type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish.
  • Reflector: Orange peel reflector gives perfect flood. 
  • Weight: 20g (without battery).
  • Dimension: 90mm(length)*14mm(head diameter). 
  • Working temperature: -40℃ to 40℃. 
  • Accessories: 2 x Spare O-ring.

Initial Impressions


Right out of the box there was some grit or something on the tail switch, and I couldn't get the light to come on. But I worked the switch and cycled it a few times, and whatever was causing the problem worked itself out.

I was surprised to see that it has a forward, momentary-on tail switch, often called a "tactical switch." I'm not normally a huge fan of forward switches where the single switch also cycles between modes, but I like the switch enough for it not to be an issue.

Once I got used to the switch, I knew that this was my new EDC flashlight, and it hasn't left my pocket since the day I got it.

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 1

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 2

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 3

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 1
Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 5

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 6


Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 7

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 8

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Product View 9


Build Quality


Overall this seems like a well built flashlight. I had an issue with the tail switch out of the box, but it's been working fine for the couple months I've been carrying it. The machining and anodizing are spot on, and I even give it points for the above average pocket clip. The Ti5 is well designed and well executed. Hopefully the weirdness with the switch out of the box was an aberration.

Fit And Finish


My review sample Ti5 has a very good fit and finish. It ticks all the boxes like having a centered emitter, well-cut threads, lubed o-rings, etc. I can't find anything specifically wrong with the finish, which is good, but it just seems a little cheap looking in a way I can't describe. Maybe it's just ugly and that's what it is...Some people think my precious Spyderco pocket knives are ugly.



LED Emitter


The LED is the heart of the flashlight, and this one has a warm-tinted version of the Cree XP-G2 emitter. It's powerful, efficient, and with a pleasing tint. It's perfectly centered in the reflector, and paired with an efficient, constant-current circuit. There's not much not to like about the LED and its circuitry. I think the dome looking off center is a trick of the light.

The XP-G2 is a medium die size emitter, though, so all it's going to put out with a tiny reflector is a solid wall of floody light. In a large flashlight, this emitter can put out a pencil beam that can throw light for a mile or more. But it's just an over-sized light bulb for the Ti5, and it does its job well as long as you understand what you are getting.

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Emitter Closeup
The LED is centered but the dome looks off center

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Circuit Closeup

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Head Closeup 2Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Head Closeup 1



Beam & Tint


As I said above, the beam is almost pure flood, which is ideal for EDC. 100 lumens of  flood makes this perfect for EDC tasks around the house like looking under the sink or behind a box in the garage.

My sample is the neutral white (NW) version. It's more warm than neutral, having an almost identical tint with its larger cousin the Ti4 NW. Warmer tints are ideal for distinguishing between different colors such as wires, while cooler tints have higher output.

Output


Thrunite claims 100 lumens on high. I don't have an integrated light sphere to hold them to that number, but I own a lot of flashlights, and there's no reason for me to think the Ti5 doesn't output at least that much. It's certainly on the high end of output I've seen on a simple AAA Eneloop.

Modes


The Ti5 features three modes and a hidden strobe mode.

The mode order is Low-->Medium-->High and you can access the strobe mode by simply cycling twice through all the modes.


Mode Lumens (stated) Runtime (stated)
Moonlight .3 120 hours
Low 10 6 1/2 hours
High 100 1/2 hour
Strobe 100 1 hour

Circuitry


I've always preferred constant-current circuits without PWM like some manufacturers use. Not only does PWM give me a headache, it ruins the efficiency and makes a flashlight unsuitable for survival purposes in my opinion. So, I'm always a happy camper to see a high quality circuit like this.

Tail Switch


As I've always said, a single switch flashlight with a momentary switch is a bit awkward, because you have to cycle to the mode you want before you engage the switch to keep the flashlight on with your selected mode. It takes some getting used to, and I recently showed it to a neighbor who was instantly frustrated with it because the first thing he did was engage the switch, which turned it on moonlight, and he didn't think it was on and handed it back to me, proclaiming that it no longer worked.

But for an enthusiast like me, and getting used to the switch, I like it. When I want to turn it on for any length of time, I quickly cycle to the mode I want, and then engage the switch. It's fast, and painless.

The switch itself has a good feel. I love the Ti4 but hate the reverse, short-travel tail switch. This is definitely an improvement over the Ti4 clicky switch, all awkwardness aside. I'd have to give the edge to the Ti5.

Carry Clip


Sometimes I feel like a broken record, where I love the flashlight but hate the cheap, half-attempt they made at creating a pocket clip. I wish this was a true "deep carry" clip, but it's still good because it's attached by being sandwiched between the tail switch and the body. I've lost several flashlights where the clip detached and sent both the clip and the flashlight ... wherever they went...

It's a great clip overall, and it shows that Thrunite is paying attention to its customers.


Usability


While I think the electronic switch provides a superior user interface, the tail switch provides a more convenient and tactile experience. There's no fishing for the button in the dark. However, the trade-off is that mode switching with a tail switch can be clumsy.

That said, the usability of the Ti5 became excellent once I got used to mode switching with the small, forward switch. I run an Eneloop Pro AAA battery in mine, and it's a winning combination.

But where it really scores in the usability department for me is the creamy, warm tint.


Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - In Hand 1

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - In Hand 2

Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - Next To Ruler
Thrunite Ti5 LED EDC Flashlight - On Scale


Conclusions


The switch isn't perfect, and the user interface is a little awkward, but everything else is almost perfect for what I want in an EDC flashlight: it's compact, powerful, with good output and mode spacing, and if you get the NW version, a beautiful tint. It has an efficient, constant-current circuit that I like to see for survival bags / gear.

My Ti5 has hardly left my pocket since I got it, but it burns through batteries quickly even using high end Eneloop Pro cells. If I'm going to be away from home for more than a couple hours, then I grab its larger cousin the Ti4. But for around the house and most EDC tasks, this is a superb flashlight.


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